Cole’s Wild Card Game performance was certainly uncharacteristically terrible and rather indefensible, but to judge the totality of his work by that one game would be a bizarre miscalculation.
Of course, just because it’s dumb to do that did not prevent many self-conscious Yankee fans from doing just that.
Now, an ex-Red Sox champion has gotten on board driving the same incorrect narrative bus — and he’s doing it to Seiya Suzuki’s face.
Count 2013 World Series champion Koji Uehara among the people who watched Cole faceplant during this season’s Wild Card showdown and knee-jerk decided the $324 million man doesn’t have what it takes to compete in October.
Uehara unloaded during his recent podcast interview with Suzuki, clearly in an effort to sway the slugger to Boston — and also bum all of us out, because it’s forced us to defend Cole’s indefensible 2021 postseason cameo by proving he’s got a track record the world has already chosen to forget.
Red Sox star Koji Uehara hates Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, it seems.
As long as Ji-Man Choi isn’t at the plate and Cole isn’t nursing a bum hamstring that ruined his season weeks prior, then the Yankees’ ace is typically right at home in October.
I learned through an extremely pointless set of Twitter interactions about two months after this year’s Wild Card Game that Red Sox fans genuinely refuse to acknowledge that Cole was injured in October, which he was, because “everyone’s hurt that time of year.”
True. But not everyone has a distinct line of demarcation between success and extreme failure represented by a hamstring injury that removed them prematurely from a start.
Immediately before the injury (and after returning from the COVID list):
- 5.2 innings against the Angels, two hits, one run, nine strikeouts
- 6.0 innings against the Twins, five hits, no runs, six strikeouts
- 6.0 innings against the A’s, six hits, no runs, nine strikeouts
- 7.0 innings against the Angels, four hits, one run, 15 strikeouts
Then, Cole got hurt. Bummer! Immediately thereafter:
- 5.0 laborious innings, one run against the Orioles
- 5.2 innings, 10 hits, seven runs against Cleveland
- 6.0 innings, three runs, three walks against Boston
- 6.0 innings, nine hits, five runs against Toronto
- Wild Card Game disaster
Yup! That’s the look of someone who definitely didn’t get thrown off by an injury. Keen rationalization there.
Plus, here’s a recent look at Cole’s Octobers, following his tough Wild Card Game (four earned runs, oh no!) against Jake Arrieta and the 2015 Cubs, a nearly-irrelevant endeavor. Looks pretty good, actually!
Yankees fans are admittedly in a tough spot here. They wanted — no, needed — Cole to be a hoss this fall, and he wasn’t. Two of his worst career October starts were at Fenway Park. That’s bad! He was average at Fenway this past season more often than he was awesome. That’s tough! We all would like Cole to be a bit better against our chief rival.
But that doesn’t mean he struggles in October and always will, and that certainly doesn’t mean Yankee fans need to bend the knee to Koji Uehara…
…who, by the way, had a 13.50 ERA in the 2011 ALCS with the Texas Rangers. Hmm. Interesting. Maybe that one bad series means he sucked in the playoffs?